“You aren’t taking this seriously, sir, are you?”
This is the place where we celebrate the best of the Brits, yet it seems impossible to ignore what is happening to 15 British sailors “kidnapped” by the Iranian government or “ambushed” or “kindly taken into protective custody”, given your point of view and whether you believe the coordinates that Iran originally gave (the correct coordinates) “that placed the action in Iraqi waters” or the later coordinates, “conveniently inside Iranian territory” (Austin Bay).
Anyone reading this blog will surely have some questions about what has been called an “international incident” or “Iranian political water theatre” or a “British-American conspiracy to create a reason for war with Iran”, depending once again on your point of view.
Your questions might include:
1) Should Britain immediately apologise for any and all “imperial actions” toward Iran in 1953 that might still be bothering the Iranians, as the Telegraph seems to suggest?
2) Along these lines, should the Germans continue to apologise for Nazi German aggression, or face the hostage-taking of their citizens? Ditto the Japanese to the Chinese? And perhaps the Iranian people should apologise to the Greek people for mounting two large-scale invasions and killing all the Spartans at Thermopylae, or face the seizure of their citizens?
3) Why does the British government today place so little importance on parents being with their young children that they have put the mother of a newborn child on active service in the Royal Navy?
4) Why does the British government today place so little importance on deterrence in an extremely dangerous world that it has gutted the Royal Navy of critical equipment and personnel?
5) Does the apparent lack of focus by the Commodore of HMS Cornwall speak well of Royal Navy training, once the best in the world? Or is he hamstrung by lack of support and could not effectively protect his naval mission? Update: Or, as EU Referendum has just suggested, was the Commodore distracted by the presence of a BBC television crew, shooting television coverage at the very time his undefended crew was heading into the Iranian trap?
6) If so, is a lack of support the result of the government’s siphoning funds from the military for the EU army and navy? Or is it due to inadequate planning by the Ministry of Defence or to the government’s denial of funds to MoD?
7) If we refuse to prepare to defend ourselves adequately will we continue to be threatened in increasingly negative ways, and will our perceived weakness encourage terrorists?
8) Why does Tony Blair think a UN resolution will achieve anything?
9) Is there anything useful to be gained from this reminder of a dramatically different response? (Thanks to Mark Steyn)
Look at the timeline 25 years ago:
On April 2nd, the Argies seized the Falklands, which were all but undefended.
On April 5th a British task force of over 100 ships and 28,000 men sailed from England for the South Atlantic.
In three days! Talk about a rush to war, eh?
Furthermore, because the British were known to be contemplating a credible response, the UN – instead of twittering about “grave concern” – passed a resolution on April 3rd ordering Argentina to withdraw from the islands. And that was in the bad old days of the Cold War. Yet, within 24 hours, the Russkies and ChiComs had been prevailed upon not to monkey around.
Just as importantly, all further diplomatic discussion took place while that task force was sailing toward the Falklands, getting closer, day by day, hour by hour. In other words, Mrs Thatcher put a clock on events – which is the only way to persuade transnational diplomats to get real. Otherwise, they just sit around talking till everyone’s dead – see Darfur, Rwanda, etc – and it’s too late to do anything even if you wanted to.
10) In the 1980s, when Britain was finally emerging from that long, delusionary period when it had convinced itself it was second-rate, it could still send over 100 ships streaming across the Atlantic. How many ships does it have today?
11) Do the British people want to be undefended in today’s world? Do they expect the French to defend them? Or the Americans?
12) If your answer is no, then why have government leaders turned their backs on 2,000 years of British history?